Thursday, September 19, 2013

Little Momma Takes On Cooking

Growing up, my mother cooked hearty meals most nights of the week for the five of us.  I think piecing together entrees and side dishes with the occasional dessert was her favorite part of the day.  Our refrigerator was topped with a picnic basket full of books, newspaper clippings, and note cards that composed her collection of recipes.  The kitchen was my mom's playing field.

As I got older, I would dabble in cooking every blue moon and didn't find the same joy in it that she did.  I came to the conclusion that I would probably never be the chef du jour (perhaps chef du duree de vie?) that my mom was (and still is).  I just couldn't cultivate the same passion she had.  This dismayed me as I couldn't envision myself providing for my future family the savory dinners that my mother had.  Maybe I will explore the variety of ways to cook Ramen,  I thought. Yeah that won't cut it for family meals...Mom reassured me that I would one day have an affinity for whipping up some grub.

Well, as she almost always is, she was right.  I have finally picked up cooking - and what's more: I thoroughly enjoy it.  It has become a release for me, and a confidence booster to boot since I figured out I'm not half bad at it (although I still have a long way to go).

The first recipe I made that inspired this new-found hobby was a bacon-wrapped chicken.  With chive and onion cream cheese rolled in the middle and bacon infusing the chicken with mouth-watering flavor, it was a succulent dish.  And, much to my surprise: extremely easy!

My dexterity at putting it all together was unexpected, and prompted me to try my hand at applesauce meatballs the next day.  The following week, I pored over recipes online, finding ones that looked doable and then decided that three or four days out of the week I would make dinner.

Tonight's dinner was a Caesar salmon filet.  Simply marinate the salmon for 2 hours in creamy Caesar dressing, then broil 4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and spoon 1/4 cup soy sauce and one garlic clove, minced.  Then broil for 15ish more minutes.  Again, very simple and quick but tastes gourmet! I served it with a cheddar broccoli pasta side.

Some recipes were not as awesome (pizza ravioli was mediocre), and others were very satisfying (steak Oscar).  My mother set the bar high, so I will continue my cooking venture; and maybe - just maybe - someday I'll be right up there with her. 

Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!
Luke 12:19b,c

Monday, September 16, 2013

Why I Love Being a (New) Mom

I am head over heels in love with this new business of being a momma.  I think every day about how obsessed I am with this role as nurturer, provider, any parent knows, the list goes on.  Compiled here is a list of just a fraction of the reasons motherhood and having a baby brings me such joy:

1) Breastfeeding; it's something that brings you and your baby so close because you worked for it together.

2) Your baby falling asleep in your arms.  What could be better?

3) "He looks just like you!"

4) I am never bored.  There's always something to be done: usually being cleaning, feeding, holding, putting to sleep, cleaning, changing, laundry, entertaining, cooking, bathing (yourself or baby)...oh my.  There is never a spare moment and at times I pine for an hour of boredom, but then my baby smiles and I remember that I love NOT being bored!

5) Baby smiles.  Babies are the only people who can pull of an immaculate toothless smile.

6) Baby laughs - aren't their giggles contagious?!  And finally, someone who thinks you are as funny as you've always thought you were.

7) Witnessing your child's learning and development.  It never ceases to amaze me how much my baby visibly absorbs and how far he's come in just over half a year.

8) The bond it brings between my husband and me: even if the acts of eating mashed bananas and waving don't entertain and impress anyone else, when our son does it, we both agree it is not only enthralling, but above average!

9) Knowing your child holds you dearest to his heart...if only for a fleeting time.

10)  Going to bed exhausted every night.  There is something satisfying about being completely exhausted at the end of the day, right? 

11) Finally understanding why my parents parented the way they did

12) Losing contact with people you should have long ago.  Having a child somehow weeds out who you should have grown out of being friends with long ago and you're the better for it.  Those who are left are the people who really matter and are friends for the long haul.

13) Toting my child around.  Babies are the best accessory!

14) That wanted/needed/loved feeling you get when your baby reaches for you.

and finally,

15)  The validity that comes with becoming a mother on day one: your life suddenly has real purpose that nothing other than being responsible for another life can give; it is by this you feel whole and complete. 

May she who gave you birth be happy.
Proverbs 23:25b 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Little Momma's Take on the Conflict in Syria

Arab spring has sprung....rather, it sprung in early 2011 and hasn't stopped. The conflict in Syria has been touched on in American and worldwide news outlets for the past couple of years, but is currently being heavily talked about now that America might "get involved".  It is a subject that is proverbially "close to home" for me, as my parents have been working with Syrian refugees in Jordan for some time now.

If you need to be enlightened on the Syrian situation (as I jokingly call it "Arab Rumspringa; too glib perhaps?), you should first read this informative, yet brief, article that has been circulating on Facebook: 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask.

In my opinion, anyone who knows a minute amount about geopolitics should recognize how bad of an idea it is to get involved with Syria.  The fact that we even supply arms to the Syrian rebels baffles me.  Both the Syrian government and the opposing rebels are extremely dangerous and bad news and to consider an American military strike type of intervention is idiotic at best. Who would that be helping?  Certainly not the millions of innocent Syrians who are fleeing their country to find refuge.

Why would we went to get involved in the civil war when we could put our resources to much better use providing aid to the Syrian refugees strewn throughout neighboring countries?  My parents work with many refugee families in Jordan, providing mattresses and other supplies to lessen the severity of the dire conditions in which these people are living - and the need for such aid grows and grows. 

They have visited places where multiple families are living in one small room, with a handful of babies who don't even have diapers so the place reeks of stale urine.  On a recent visit, there was a family who wanted to marry their 14 year old daughter off, for protection or money. They have met a young boy who was so traumatized and struck by fear because of the war he saw in his hometown that his hair has fallen out - and won't grow back.  Another young toddler's first word: "enfijar", the Arabic word for explosion - all because that is the word he heard spoken and shouted the most in Syria as bombs went off nearby.

Maybe you are a numbers person, and those sad accounts don't strike a chord.  In that case, here are a few statistics to consider:
  • 5,000 people are escaping Syria every day into neighboring nations 
              meaning the conflict has now forced:
  • 1/3 of the Syrian population from their homes     
              which is currently:
  • the highest number of displaced people anywhere in the world
               and in Jordan it makes up for:
  • 8% of their population of 6.2 million
  • 52% of the total refugees are CHILDREN 17 and under
People, this is a very sad situation and as a nation we need to DO something to help the Syrians.  And it is not getting our military involved.  We need to send aid to these poor refugees, people trying to protect their children from bombs and chemical warfare.

Syrian children killed by the recent chemical attack
If you are wondering how to actively do your part and help with an EFFECTIVE way of dealing with the Syrian conflict, leave a comment, message me on Facebook, or email or and you will be given details on how you can do just that. 

Look, Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins.
Isaiah 17:1